3 Common Procedures Performed By Orthopaedic Surgeons

Orthopaedic surgeries are surgeries that involve the musculoskeletal system including our hands, shoulders, foot and knees. It is one of the most established arm of surgery and one of the most important. At one point or another in our lives, we will definitely require orthopaedic surgery to deal with issues such as sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries or degenerative diseases. What are some common procedures performed by orthopaedic surgeons?

Total joint replacement

Due to ageing or diseases, a healthy joint can be damaged and rendered almost useless. In order to regain the full range of motion of a good quality lifestyle, total joint replacement will need to be performed on patients using man-made materials called biomaterials. These biomaterials are biocompatible and will mimic the actions of the actual joint. However, they cannot fully replicate the functions of the original one to a full extent. Wear and tear over a period of time can cause the cartilage to wear off, causing stiffness and pain due to the lack of synovium which helps to reduce friction.

Rotator cuff repair

Rotator cuff repair is performed to repair injured or torn tendons in the shoulder. There is a group of muscles in the shoulder joint forming a cuff, resulting in the name rotator cuff. Our shoulder offers superb flexibility and range of motion but this causes the shoulder joint to be extremely unstable. A slight impact can cause the shoulder “ball” to pop out of the “socket”, resulting in a dislocation. The presence of the tendons will hold the shoulder muscles to the shoulder, preventing any accidental popping out action. Due to injuries or overuse, the tendons can become weak and will not hold as well. Surgery may be performed either as a traditional open surgery or a more modern arthroscopy depending on the extent of the tear. The surgery will fix back the tendon to the shoulder and it will be held together by self-vanishing sutures.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction

There are 4 major ligaments in our knee and one of the most important one is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is responsible for the overall stability and even surface stress distribution across the knee. It limits the rotational capability of the knee as well as prevents excessive forward motion of the tibia to the femur. The ACL is frequently torn during sporting activities involving high impact and sudden jerks. For example during rugby, the long metal studs from the boots can be still stuck in the soft grass field and an attempt to make a directional change results in the twisting of the knee, instantly tearing the ACL. ACL reconstruction is performed either by open surgery or arthroscopic.  The surgeon will remove a tendon from the hamstring and use it as a replacement for the ACL.

Above are 3 of the most common orthopaedic surgeries performed by orthopaedic surgeons worldwide. No matter what surgery you are about to undergo, we wish you a speedy recovery.

4 Habits to Help Reduce Risk of Orthopaedic Conditions

In sunny Singapore, we tend to engage in sporting activities throughout the year. As the amount of sports activities increases, the risk of orthopaedic injuries will increase likewise. Studies have concluded that 80% of orthopaedic conditions involved the upper extremities such as the arm, shoulders and elbows whereas 20% of them involved the lower extremities such as the knee and ankle. Injuries will prevent us from continuing to be involved in our favourite activity for a period of time and this can be frustrating. What are some good habits to help you reduce the risk of orthopaedic injuries? What are some precautions you should take?

Warming up

Our body is not in the most ideal state for action most of the time. If you do a sudden sprint, you can expect to pull your hamstring and cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, proper warming up is crucial to reduce the risk of injuries. You need to prepare your body for an intense activity but doing an action that is less intensive for a few minutes to allow your body to adapt. Warming up provides heat to the body which will help to loosen up the tissues in your body such as the ligaments and tendons.

Wearing protective gears

Contact sports often require the usage of protective gears to protect you. For example, soccer requires the compulsory usage of shin guards. Although shin guards can hinder running movements and cause discomfort to players, they are useful in preventing injuries to the shin. Also, rugby players wear uniform with padding at the shoulder region to prevent injuries when they are tackled down. While players are better off without these protective gears, they know that they cannot do without them.

Knowing when to stop

Knowing when to stop is the difficult thing for most athletes out there. There is only a thin line between stupidity and bravery. Some players think that they can finish the game despite being injured via the usage of pain relieving sprays. However, the exact extent of injury is unknown and it could be a serious one which will cause more serious complications if further aggravated.

Cooling down

Cooling down sessions help to decrease the heart rate in a controlled manner and relax the muscles. Exercising causes the body’s temperature to be increased and a proper cool down session will revert back to the normal body temperature down and prevent the building up of lactic acid which will cause muscle soreness.

Knowing when to stop is probably the most difficult yet important decision you should make. Observe the 4 habits mentioned above and you will definitely have your risk of injuries significantly decreased.

Questions To Ask Before Orthopaedic Surgery

Orthopaedic surgeries are major surgeries and are extremely stressful. There will be a lot of doubts going through your head and can trigger an anxiety breakdown. However, this can be controlled by asking questions prior to your surgery. Being knowledgeable about what you are about to go through will allow you to appreciate the entire surgical process, prepare yourself for it and set in mind a proper recovery plan post surgery. So what are some questions that you should be asking your surgeon before surgery?

Why am I doing this surgery?

It is easy to Google online for information regarding the particular surgery you are about to undergo. However, there is no clear answer to why you are doing the surgery. You should be asking your surgeon why he recommended this particular surgery for you and are there any other alternative treatment methods that are available as well as a comparison between the possible alternatives. This will allow you to have a high confidence level prior to surgery.

What are the risks?

Risks are inevitable in any surgery and some carry a higher risk level than others. It would be good to clarify on this issue as well as question about some surgical procedures which have lesser risk level such as the use of a local anaesthesia as compared to a general anaesthesia as studies have shown that patients who received general anaesthesia have a higher risk of post surgery bleeding.

What are the available pain relief methods?

Pain and discomfort is also unavoidable post surgery and some people have a lower pain threshold than others. Therefore, it is crucial to understand about the available pain relief methods which will help you get through this tough period. You should also know what medications you are allergic to so that proper medication can be administered to you.

What are the success rates?

Bluntly speaking, you undergo surgery with the hope that it is a success. However, as you have already known, some surgeries carry a higher risk factor than others and therefore the success rates will fluctuate. Knowing what the success rates are will allow you to make better plans for your future.

No matter what orthopaedic surgery you are about to undergo, you should always ask questions prior to it to clarify your doubts and set your mind at ease. Here’s wishing you to a successful surgery and quick post-surgery recovery.

How Does Yoga Reduce Orthopaedic Injuries?

No one in this world is born perfect. There are imbalances in various parts of our body and this can cause injuries if mishandled. Many sports athletes are now turning to an ancient form of practice – Yoga. Yoga helps to increase the flexibility and physical as well as mental strength of oneself. It helps to prevent injuries associated with overuse and speed up recovery of existing injuries.

Yoga is normally conducted in a room that is slightly warm. This increase in temperature will allow muscles to expand and relax, allowing for an increase in stretching capabilities. Enhanced stretching will help to lower the risk of injuries. Yoga will help to build up physical strength and tone muscles, especially vulnerable ones such as the back muscles. It also increases flexibility, reducing injuries that are sustained due to the inability to flex. Since yoga causes perspiration, it will draw out toxins and impurities from the body, burn excess calories and help to build up endurance levels.

Orthopaedic injuries are all about the joints and musculoskeletal system. Having strong joints and muscles will help to significantly lower the risk of injuries. For example, athletes that are involved in high tempo activities such as basketball and soccer are at a high risk of ankle sprains. Due to the constant running and jumping motion, this causes a lot of high stresses to build up at the joints. Without sufficient rest, it can lead to overuse injuries and eventually soft tissue damages. Not only does yoga help to strengthen these joints, it also helps to reduce body weight to reduce the cyclic stresses acting on weak areas of the body.

You may be thinking basic warm up and cool down stretches also help to increase body heat and relax the muscles, increasing flexibility. What is so special about yoga? Well, the main difference is that yoga goes beyond stretching the “common” muscles. Normal stretches simply stretch the muscles in a one direction plane. However, this is rather useless for sports since sports is a 3 dimensional activity whereby the stresses come in the x, y and z plane. Yoga helps to stretch all the muscles in all the directions including the small ones to better prepare for what is to come during the games. Additionally, how yoga differs from ordinary stretching lies in its breathing during the practice. The emphasis of muscles isolation, works on specific muscles and in general stronger muscles would reduce the risk of sustaining orthopaedic injuries. In fact, stronger muscles also reduce the extent of an injury as well as recovery rate. Generally a stronger individual would be able to recover faster than an individual with weak muscles.

Yoga is an ancient activity that helps to warm up your muscles, increase the flexibility and build up your physical and mental strength through various poses and motion. With thousands of years of history, it is tried and tested by many.

Prodigy boy, 9, scores A* for two O-level maths papers

Anthony Yip Aquathlon 2012Anthony Yip took two O-level mathematics papers last year as a private candidate and scored A* in both. He was then nine and a Primary 4 pupil at Henry Park Primary School.

He says he finished the two-hour papers much earlier than his older peers but did not want to draw attention to himself by handing in the paper first. He says: “I waited till the first person handed in the paper, then I handed in mine.”

His father, orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Yip, 51, says the boy had three months’ worth of twice-weekly tutoring before the examinations. The O-level examinations are normally done by those nine years older.

“We were just trying him out to see if he was a prodigy like his siblings,” says Dr Yip, who is married to Dr Joanna Lin, 49, an oncologist.

 

 

 

Read full article: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/my-child-is-a-prodigy

4 Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Relief from back pain can be obtained from simple back exercises that helps to stretch, loosen and strengthen the back muscles. Our body is designed in a way that the back muscles must work in tandem with the spinal cord and the soft tissues such as the ligaments and tendons. If there are any restriction to the movement, it will cause discomfort and pain for the patient. Back pain is an orthopaedic condition that requires special attention to be given to it. There are some good exercises that can help to provide pain relief and let’s discuss them below.

Myofascial Release

Lie down on a gym mat or on your bed depending on your comfort level as different surfaces will provide different level of pressure. Lay on one side of your body and place an exercise ball beneath it. The ball should be positioned at the muscular region at the side of the spine and slowly place your entire body weight onto the exercise ball. Do not attempt to move about or bounce up and down.

Forward stretch on a chair

Sit down on a chair that does not have any rollers. Place both of your feet firmly on the ground and sit upright. Slowly start to lean forward and stretch towards your toes while keeping your neck in a relaxed position. When you feel tightness in your back, hold in that position for 15 seconds and slowly return to the original position. Repeat this exercise for 10 times and whenever you can throughout the day. This will help to stretch and relax the back muscles.

Knees to chest

Lie down on a soft surface such as a gym mat or on your bed. Maintain a straight posture and slowly bring both of your knees towards your chest. You should be able to feel tightness in your back and hold in that position for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise for 10 times and whenever you can throughout the day. This will help to stretch and relax the back muscles.

Piriformis stretch

Strong gluteus muscles can help to better support the body’s weight and take some load off the spinal cord. The piriformis muscles is at the buttock region and if the muscles are weak, it can cause pain in the lower back. Lie down on a soft surface and place one leg over the other and pull towards your stomach. You will be able to feel a tightening sensation at the buttock region and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and change legs. Repeat this exercise for 20 times.

Exercises will help to stretch and strengthen the back muscles to provide pain relief. Most exercises require minimal space and can be performed throughout the day whenever you are free. Do not attempt to stretch beyond your limits and remember not to over exert the injured muscles.

4 Foods That Compromises Bone Health

Most of us know exactly what food to consume in order to keep our bones strong and healthy. However, there are also foods that are bad for our bone and we should reduce the intake of them. Not only do these foods prevent our bone from absorbing calcium, they also increase the risk of us getting obese. Let’s take a look at some of the foods that compromises bone health and increase the risk of orthopaedic complications.

High sodium content foods

High sodium content foods simply mean salty food. With the fast pace lifestyle that most of us have nowadays, we want our meals to be fast and convenient. This is where all the instant foods like instant noodles and canned food comes in. Not only are these foods low in nutrition value, they are high in sodium content. Sodium causes calcium to be excreted out from the kidneys. One simple and healthy replacement is to use natural herbs while flavouring our food.

Sugary foods

People with a sweet tooth take note, you are at a high risk of poor bone health. Sugar is found in a lot of food and drinks nowadays and it is hard to avoid them. Excessive intake of sugar prevents proper absorption of calcium and reduces phosphorus levels in our body. Phosphorus is beneficial in helping the body absorb calcium. Instead of consuming foods that are high in sugar content, considering snacking on fruits such as cranberries and prunes which provides some sugary rush at a healthy level.

Cola drinks

Most of us are huge fans of cola drinks. However, cola drinks have bad effects on our bone health due to the addition of phosphoric acid in the drink. Phosphoric acid will inhibit the intake of calcium and weaken our intestines. If you are unable to stop your craving for a fizzy drink, you can consider adding soda water to freshly squeezed orange juice as a healthier alternative.

Caffeine

Caffeine is found in many drinks nowadays to provide the stimulant effect to keep u alert and awake. They can be found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and root beer. While small amounts of caffeine is beneficial, consuming too much of them is bad for our bones. Caffeine will “steal” calcium from the bones and reduce the bone density. Approximately 6 mg of calcium is lost for every 100 mg of caffeine we take in. So if you are unable to avoid your cuppa, opt for decaffeinated ones which are slightly better on the bones.

Many of the food and drinks that we consume on a daily basis are actually bad on our bones. There are many healthier alternatives to them and we should try to consume those instead for better health or risk having to consume medication for the rest of our lives.

Top 3 Most Common Elbow Injuries

Our elbow is basically a joint in which the humerus bone, ulna bone and the radius bone is connected together to form a joint that functions like a hinge. The radius bone and the ulna bone also enable the elbow to rotate around the forearm. The main function of the elbow is to move forward and back as well as rotate around. Tendons are connected to the elbow and they can be easily injured either due to a sudden impact or due to ageing. The elbow is one of the most easily injured parts of the body as it is like a ball and socket joint in which the ball can easily slip out of the socket. Let’s look at some of the common elbow injuries.

Dislocation

Elbow dislocation is one of the few serious elbow injuries that can be sustained. Dislocation is often caused by trauma or injury such as a sudden impact from full contact sports such as rugby or high falls from activities such as rock climbing. The patient will suffer an immediate loss of motion in the elbow and severe pain. Depending on the severity, the elbow may even look like it is deformed due to the bones sticking out. The bones will need to be rejoined back in the shortest possible time. Most people will try to push back the bone but this is a huge mistake as it should only be performed by highly trained medical personnel under sedation to prevent further damages to the surrounding tendons.

Fracture

Fracture is another serious elbow injury and the symptoms are similar to a dislocation. It is also caused by sudden impact or fall from great heights and landing on a hand, causing the elbow to fracture. Patients will suffer a loss in range of motion but not as much as a dislocation. In more severe cases, patients may even experience numbness and this can indicate possible nerve damages. Since fractures are cracks in the bone, patients can experience a loss in blood circulation and this can be easily diagnosed by a lower temperature in the injured area or a weakened pulse.

Olecranon Bursitis

Patients who are suffering from Olecranon Bursitis will experience swelling at the elbow and will feel pain with every movement. Olecranon Bursitis is due to the inflammation of the bursa and this is often caused by overuse of the elbow or infection. This is usually due to prolonged periods of leaning on the elbow with the whole body weight leaning on it.

Elbow injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. However, the elbow is a part of our body which is heavily used daily and if we fail to take good care of it, it will cause much inconvenience to our daily lives.

 

5 Simple Home Exercises after Knee Surgery

Once you return home after knee surgery, it is when your recovery officially starts. You need to start performing muscle strengthening exercises to build up strength that was lost due to injury. Not only that, you will also need to regain your full range of motion in the shortest possible time to eliminate any possible complications. It will be difficult initially as you have lost most of the strength previously. Recovery is a long and tedious process that needs to adhere to a schedule religiously. Deviating from it can possibly cause more harm. Rushing through it will also cause more harm than good. So what are some of the simple home exercises that you can do to help you out?

Ankle pumps

Ankle pumps will help to increase ankle dorsiflexion and help build up the shin muscles. Bend your ankles upwards and pull the toes towards you and subsequently away from you. Hold in each position for 10 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 10 each time. Aim to perform it 3 times daily.

Assisted leg extension

You will need to regain your full range of motion in the shortest possible time. It is also the top priority post surgery. Lie on your stomach with your leg in full extension. Place you good leg below the injured leg and slowly bring it up. Try to bring it beyond the point of pain and hold in the position for 10 seconds. Slowly bring down both legs and repeat. You should try to do this exercise throughout the day whenever possible.

Seated leg extension

This is also another knee flexion exercise that helps to regain range of motion. Sit down on a chair with a back support. Slowly bend your injured knee back to the point of pain and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return back to the starting point and repeat. Also when possible, try to perform this exercise throughout the day.

Seated leg kicks

Sit down on a chair with a back support. Stretch out your injured knee as much as you can and hold in the position for 10 seconds. Slowly bring back to the starting position and repeat. This exercise will also help to reduce any scarring in the knees and improve the range of motion.

Quad sets

Sit down at the edge of your beg with your legs on the floor. Try to tighten the quad muscles and straighten your legs concurrently. You should be able to feel your quad muscles contracting. Hold it for 10 seconds and relax. Aim to perform at least 100 sets of this exercise daily as it can help to strengthen and firm up the quad muscles to help shield some of the load from your knee.

Recovery from knee surgery is a slow and tedious process. However, do not feel disheartened and aim to do it slow and steady. Do not be frustrated by it and try to rush through it. It will do more harm than good.

How to Recover Faster from an Orthopaedic Surgery

Advancement in Orthopaedic surgery over the years has led to a lower risk of infection and a faster recovery process. Although Orthopaedic surgery brings a lot of pain to the patient, there are many pain relief medications that can be consumed to counter it. Recovery is a long and slow process that requires a lot of patience from the patient. It cannot be expedited or long term complications may occur. However, there are some things you can do to help recover faster. Let’s look at some of them.

Begin physical therapy before the surgery

Contrary to what many people believe, recovery actually begins months before the surgery! About 6 months before the surgery, you should start going to the gym to build up muscles around your body. For example, if you will be undergoing knee surgery, you should build up muscles around it such as your Quadriceps muscles, calf muscles and thigh muscles. By strengthening muscles around the injured region, you are helping your knee to be able to depend on the surrounding muscles to support it. Coupled with physical therapy after surgery, the recovery time will be significantly reduced.

Start physical therapy immediately after surgery

Physical therapy starts immediately after surgery, gradually increasing the intensity as days passes. Gentle rotations around the injured region should be conducted and it will be pain-free due to the anaesthesia. These will also help to reduce scarring and stiffness of the injured part. As days slowly pass, you should increase your physical therapy session duration as well as the intensity.

Opt for minimally invasive surgery

Whenever possible, always try to opt for a minimally invasive surgery or arthroscopy. Instead of cutting open the surgical site, arthroscopy makes a few small incisions to allow cameras and surgical tools to be inserted into your body. With a small incision, it reduces chances of infection as well as significantly decreasing the recovery time. It also ensures that the pain will be much less as compared to traditional open surgery. However, arthroscopy will cost more than traditional surgery.

Consume nutritious foods

Proper nutrition after surgery will help to speed up the healing process. You should consume lots of protein since protein is the building block for the body. Foods that are rich in protein include chicken, fish and red meat. You should also consume sufficient greens. Spinach, broccoli, cabbage and asparagus are good sources of nutrients for the body.

Orthopaedic surgery often requires lengthy recovery periods that requires a lot of patience, dedication and perseverance from the patient. Do not rush through the physical therapy as it may do more harm than good.